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37 people were killed in work-related accidents in 2018

Figures have revealed that work-related accidents hit an all-time low in 2018.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

A TOTAL OF 37 people were killed in work-related accidents during 2018, the lowest number since records began 30 years ago.

Figures released by the Health and Safety Authority today show that there was a 23% decline in the number of workplace deaths from 2017, when 48 people lost their lives.

It is also more than half the peak figure set in 1995, when 79 employees died in a workplace accident.

The farming sector, which has consistently been the most dangerous sector in which to work, saw 15 work-related deaths last year compared to 25 in 2017, a decline of 40%.

Construction and Transportation and Storage were the next most-fatal sectors, with five deaths each last year, followed by Fishing and Aquaculture, which saw four deaths.

“Although farming has also seen a very strong improvement in 2018, 15 fatalities, which represents 41% of total fatalities, is still far too many for a sector that employs just 6% of the workforce,” Dr Sharon McGuinness, chief executive officer of the HSA said.

Dublin saw the highest number of fatalities last year, with five people losing their lives in workplace accidents in the capital during 2018.

It was followed by Cork, Galway and Mayo, where four people in each county died in a workplace accident last year.

Meanwhile, the fatal accident rate of 1.6 deaths per 100,000 workers also reached an all-time low last year, compared with a high of 6.4 per 100,000 workers in 1991.

“Due to the efforts of employers, employees and key stakeholders, there has been a huge improvement in health and safety standards since then,” McGuinness said.

“However, with 37 people losing their lives in work related activity in 2018 there is clearly still more to be done”.

McGuinness said that while employers are facing challenges such as Brexit and a skills shortage in certain sectors, it was important to prioritise the health and safety of workers, adding that safe employees were “the backbone of any successful enterprise”.

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